On Monday July 21st, our Union and Honeywell will meet at the bargaining table for the first time since Honeywell locked the Union out for 14 months in 2010. After three years of lies, intimidation, and broken promises, we are anxious for the opportunity to improve the working conditions of our facility. The members of our local Union continue to prove every day that they are the safest, most efficient, and most valuable work force available.
Unfortunately, the company's propaganda machine is already in full motion. Plant manager Jim Pritchett released a letter today with out right inaccuracies and lies. The company has also indicated that they may not be able to excuse Union members from work for the purposes of bargaining. Nobody really knows what Monday will bring, but if the Union's negotiating committee is allowed to be present, we will be ready to bargain.
What he said: The plant employs 270 workers, including 134 that are represented by the USW.
The truth: Honeywell has become a permanent haven for out of state contractors making more in wages and per diem than the local workers. There are over 100 contractors now at the facility in jobs that local workers used to perform. Read about their wages here.
What he said: The company’s objective is to reach a new labor agreement that is fair to employees while controlling costs and allowing the plant the necessary flexibility to operate efficiently. Honeywell must maintain the site’s competitiveness and sustainability for the long term in a challenging global marketplace.
The truth: Honeywell has never had a desire to work with the Union. It is their desire to eliminate Unions that drive them, not competitiveness. Honeywell has burned bridges with nearly all the customers in the nuclear industry when they sued (force majeure) to be released from their customer obligations in 2010 during the lockout and again in 2012 when they shut the plant down to make seismic upgrades instead of continuing to operate while improvements occurred as they were permitted to do.
What he said: Under U.S. labor law, the company and the union are required to meet at reasonable times in reasonable places and to bargain in good faith over a new labor contract. Neither party is obligated to agree to any particular proposal.
The truth: Honeywell's good faith toward Unions is questionable. In a leaked document Honeywell describes their strategy to eliminate and prevent Unions. There is also a pending unfair labor practice charge against Honeywell's Metropolis facility.
What he said: There will be a mediator assigned to the negotiation by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). The FMCS is a government agency that provides a mediator to parties negotiating a labor contract when they request such help. Mediation must be jointly agreed upon by both parties.
The truth: The Union has not requested the assistance of a Mediator from the FMCS and at this point see no need to have a third-party present. If the company bargains in good faith, there should be no reason for it. Perhaps they anticipate problems.
What he said: The site has accrued significant operating losses over the past decade and is just now starting to break even. We have made progress under the former contract – reached only after an extended lockout – despite terrible market conditions, with nuclear power generation at the lowest levels since 1999. This bad situation has been compounded by the Department of Energy’s practice of flooding the market for several years with uranium and UF6 from its extensive inventories at less than fair market value. This practice, which is being challenged in federal court by the Honeywell partnership that markets the UF6 produced by the Metropolis plant, has significantly reduced demand for our product and driven prices down.
The truth: How long will this company complain about losing money? This plant used to employ less people and make more product than they do now, but yet employs hundreds more contractors. Anyone who drives past the plant can see that there are double the amount of vehicles parked in the employee parking lot now. When asked about it, Jim can only respond that they are paid from a different pot of money. It doesn't take a mathematician to understand that borrowing from one hand to pay the other does not change the fact that you are paying more money.